amphibian: Amphibians (class Amphibia, from Amphi- meaning “on both sides” and -bios meaning “life”), such as frogs, salamanders, and caecilians, are ectothermic (or cold-blooded) animals that metamorphose from a juvenile water-breathing form, either to an adult air-breathing form, or to a paedomorph that retains some juvenile characteristics. Mudpuppies, for example, retain juvenile gills in adulthood.
Arc: arc is a segment of the circumference of a circle
I” as in I Ching (The Book of Change)
In 1992, Nonchi Wang, the founder of amphibianArc, received an Honorable Mention in the NARA/TOTO World Architecture Triennale. The theme of this conceptual competition was the “Symbiosis of History and the Future”. The jury consisted of Toyo Ito, Kisho Kurokawa and Kenneth Frampton. Except for the competition theme and encouragement from the jury to break boundaries, no program or requirements were given.
Nonchi Wang’s winning entry depicts a spaceship traveling in deep space. Space exploration, this entry argues, is humanity’s collective destiny and, at the same time, a recurrence of its ancestors’ evolutionary venture from sea to land. While fulfilling its destiny by going into space, humanity is making a leap from terrestrial species into extraterrestrial species. Our ancestor had made a similar evolutionary leap from marine species to terrestrial species millions years ago. Space travel is both an act of moving towards humanity’s unknown future and an act of reliving its history, therefore a symbiosis of history and the future.
The urge of entering the unknown territory has driven humanity from water to land millions years ago and from land to space in our time. In the scale of geological time, humanity has been living as amphibians—a life form living on one side of the coastal line, or the skyline, with its origin deeply rooted on the other side.
Arc, being a mere segment of a circle, signifies inherent partiality of all ideas or forms of knowledge. It is a symbol of humility.
The logo of amphibianArc, a half human half fish creature, intends to express and embrace humanity in its fullest form. It is a critique and modification of the Vitruvian Man as presented by da Vinci during the Renaissance, the age of Humanism.
amphibianArc, founded in 1992, represents a philosophy of design and architecture that is informed by the idea of evolution in the formation of human spirit and habitation.
Humanity has its root in the sea.
Our inclination to space is an extension of this lineage—a constant state of amphibious existence.
amphibianArc gains understanding of human habitation in the context and temporal scale of human evolution. It is our goal to create buildings that not only reshape the lived reality but also inspire minds that will invent the future.
In practice, we consider design as both an artistic expression and a problem solving technique. The seamless synthesis between the creative element and the practical element is the principal design tenet by which we faithfully abide.
In last two decades, amphibianArc has been focusing on the idea of Liquid Architecture, an architectural discourse adapting to the ever-shifting human consciousness towards the digital realm in the computer age.
Due to the founder Nonchi Wang’s Chinese cultural heritage, Liquid Architecture encompasses not only the curvilinear forms prevalent in contemporary architectural scene, but also ideogramic methodology that is the foundation of Chinese word making. Adopting ideogramic forms into its formal repertoire, amphibianArc is able to institute narrativity into design, creating narrative architecture.